Online plant auctions experience huge rise in registered bidders

RITCHIE Bros. has set new site records for its online construction equipment auctions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

When lockdown restrictions were put in place across the world, Ritchie Bros. adapted to online-only auctions, which the firm said has resulted in a ‘sharp increase’ in bidder registrations and ‘solid returns’ for consignors.

In Europe and the Middle East alone, Ritchie Bros. saw more than 30,000 bidder registrations between January and June of this year – an increase of 66% compared with the same period in 2019.

All European and Middle East auctions since mid-March have been conducted via online timed auctions – a system where lots are available for bidding for several days.

Jeroen Rijk, MD EMEA, South & Central America at Ritchie Bros said, “Ritchie Bros. is known for its ‘live’ equipment auctions with auctioneers and big theatres. But even before Covid-19, more than half of winning bids at our live auctions came from online bidders. Using our existing infrastructure, we quickly pivoted entirely to online auctions in March and have received lots of great feedback from customers—both buyers and sellers.”

In total, Ritchie Bros. has recorded 73 million visits to its websites this year and 11.2 million searches made via its mobile app. 308,000 equipment items and trucks have been sold to buyers from 140 countries, with more than six million bids received for auction items.

In terms of new site records, an auction hosted in Maltby, UK, in June received more than 1,900 registered bidders – an increase of 170% from the same auction last year.

An auction in Meppen, Germany, in March resulted in more than 2,900 bidders – up 41% from the same auction last year, while a June auction in Dubai saw a 40% increase in new bidders.